Managing Director of Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), Richard Norton, has announced that Australia’s red meat industry can be carbon neutral by 2030.
In a speech at the company’s annual general meeting in Alice Springs this week, Mr Norton said achieving the goal would put Australia head and shoulders above its competitors, giving consumers even more confidence in the quality and integrity of Australian red meat and turning environmental criticism of the industry on its head.
He said the reputation of Australian red meat was second to none amongst global consumers, but the industry must stay focused on changing consumer demands and act on emerging threats and market disruptors to prosper into the future.
“With industry commitment, the right policy settings and new investment in research, development and adoption, the Australian red meat industry can be carbon neutral by 2030,” Mr Norton said, “and we can be the first red meat exporting nation to do so.”
To this end, Mr Norton reported that MLA had initiated a project with CSIRO to identify pathways for the red meat industry, including farm and processing sectors, to become carbon neutral.
The project has identified a series of innovation and farm management options including the expanded use of legumes and dung beetles in pastures, savannah fire management in northern Australia, feed supplements, feedlotting and vegetation management. Genetic selection and a potential vaccine to reduce methane production in the rumen were other opportunities, he said.
“These pathways don’t require the heavy hand of regulation,” Mr Norton said. “What they do require is the commitment of industry, the right policy settings from federal and state governments, and a continued investment in research, development and adoption of innovation within industry.”
Mr Norton said the Australian red meat industry had already done much of the heavy lifting in the reduction of Australia’s total emissions to date and had an opportunity to create an even better story about its product in the years ahead.
“We believe our industry can achieve a carbon neutral goal, while driving productivity gains and further differentiating Australian red meat from low cost competitors and artificial alternatives.
“This will ensure Australian red meat remains the natural choice in the high value international markets that reward quality, product integrity and ethically and environmentally sustainable production systems.”
Watch the full speech here.